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Drug Convictions and Financial Aid Eligibility

According to federal regulations, if a student is convicted of a drug-related felony or misdemeanor during a period of enrollment while they were receiving Title IV Federal Financial Aid (i.e, Pell and SEOG grants, Perkins and Direct Stafford Loans, Work Study) they may lose eligibility for Federal Aid.

The period of ineligibility is dependent upon the type of conviction (sale or possession) and if there were previous offenses:

Offense Possession of Illegal Drugs Sale of Illegal Drugs
1st offense 1 year of ineligibility from date of conviction 2 years of ineligibility from date of conviction
2nd offense 2 years of ineligibility from date of conviction Indefinite period of ineligibility
3+ offenses Indefinite period of ineligibility Indefinite period of ineligibility

If the student was convicted of both selling and possessing illegal drugs, they will be ineligible for the longer period. Additional drug convictions will also make the student ineligible for federal aid again.

Regaining Eligibility for Federal (Title IV) Aid

A student may regain eligibility:

  • The day after the period of ineligibility ends,
  • When they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program, or
  • If the student passes two unannounced drug tests given by a qualified rehabilitation program they may regain eligibility.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it after:

  • Successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below,
  • Passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or
  • If a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record. In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.

Qualified Drug Rehabilitation Program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a Federal, State, or local government program.
  • Qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a Federally or State-licensed insurance company.
  • Administered or recognized by a Federal, State, or local government agency or court.
  • Administered or recognized by a Federally or State-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the school that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.